The Academy Is… – Lost in Pacific Time EP
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Record Label: Atlantic/Fueled By Ramen/Decaydance
There was a point in time when The Academy Is… was one of the hottest bands in the scene. Between the winter of 2005 to the spring of 2006, the Chicago quintet had captured the pop-punk hearts of many with their blistering debut album, Almost Here. Full of energy and snarky attitude, the band was off to a promising start. Following the debut was the edgy Santi, a progressive step for the band that refined their sound. Then somewhere along the line The Academy Is… fell off the tracks. Their third album, the high-school inspired Fast Times at Barrington High was a total disaster. It was devoid of all the spunk and edge that made TAI so appealing; instead the disc was polluted with pop numbers and juvenile lyrics.
So where does The Academy Is… go from there? Well, just in time for their upcoming fall tour, the group has put together a five track EP, Lost in Pacific Time, hoping to recapture the magic. Rather, the final product, while a step forward from Fast Times, is still a watered-down version of previous efforts, leaving the listeners yearning for more.
Opener “I’m Yours Tonight” starts off promising with a catchy riff, I’m left wanting more, waiting for that kick in the teeth. Remember “Black Mamba”? Apparently the name wasn’t the only thing Kobe Bryant stole because he must’ve taken TAI’s killer instinct as well. “Days Like Masquerades” isn’t any better, all this tired formula does is put the listener into a coma.
“Sputter” is decent at best, but only because of the Andrew McMahon cameo and the fact that this track flows in the vein of a Jack’s Mannequin b-side. The EP finally comes alive with the vibrant “New York (Saint in the City),” as it brings back warm thoughts of Santi. The chorus has that bite the entire EP is missing, and one can only hope the next TAI album channels this energy instead of partaking in bland pop rock.
Lyrically and musically speaking, Lost in Pacific Time is a step up from Fast Times, which was utter trash, so almost anything the band recorded this time around would be better, so that's not saying much. Instead of taking the next step from Santi like they should have years ago, they are progressing from Fast Times, which still leaves The Academy Is… taking plenty of steps backwards from all the good work they put in with their first two albums. Clearly, The Academy Is... are currently lost in all time zones.
I was just walking back from campus and thinking about last year, and how absolutely disappointing Fast Times was. The fact that this sounds nearly in the same vein as it is disappointing, particularly since this is a band that I grew up (made the progression from that senior year of high school to college) with.